Connecting the Wrong Dots

(Washington Times) Arnaud de Borchgrave - As Aaron D. Miller, a long-time veteran of Middle Eastern affairs, put it on Fox News, "it would take an atomic crowbar to pry Lebanon loose from Syria." About 20% of Syria's gross domestic product is derived from Lebanon. The Syrian intelligence network in Lebanon, which includes thousands of local informants, is well concealed and deeply entrenched. The buildings they are giving up in Beirut are an optical illusion. The Syrian intelligence establishment is quite capable of triggering resumed civil strife. Talk of a democratic surge sweeping the Middle East is yet another case of mistaking wishes for reality. It is tempting to connect the dots between the Iraqi elections, Palestinian elections, and Lebanon, and describe the overall picture as the inexorable march to democracy. But the strengthening of Hamas in the Palestinian municipal elections, a harbinger of how it will do in next July's legislative elections, and Hizballah's unchallenged position in Lebanon, should remind the White House these two organizations, along with Islamic Jihad, are now part of al-Qaeda's support group. Turkey elected a democratic government democratically - and an Islamist party won and now governs. Its first important act was to deny transit rights across Turkey for the U.S. 4th Infantry Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2005-03-22 00:00:00

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